Department of Labor Job Outlook: Dispensing Opticians

Quick Facts: Dispensing Opticians

Median Pay: $32,940 per year  $15.84 per hour

Entry Level Education: High school diploma or equivalent

Number of Jobs est. 2010:  62,600

Job Outlook: 29% (Much faster than average; 18,100 over next decade)

What Dispensing Opticians Do

Dispensing opticians help fit eyeglasses and contact lenses, following prescriptions from ophthalmologists and optometrists. They also help customers decide which eyeglass frames or type of contact lenses to buy.

Work Environment

Some opticians work in stores that sell glasses, contact lenses, and other optical goods. These stores may be stand-alone businesses or parts of larger retail establishments, such as department stores. Other opticians work as part of a group optometry or medical practice.

How to Become a Dispensing Optician

Opticians typically have a high school diploma or equivalent and some form of on-the-job training. Some states require opticians to be licensed.


The median annual wage of opticians was $32,940 in May 2010.

Job Outlook

Employment of opticians is expected to grow by 29 percent from 2010 to 2020, much faster than the average for all occupations. An aging population is expected to lead to greater demand for eye care services.